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We all get cuts and bruises on our skin, and we’ve all been through pangs of physical distress from time to time.
While we are quick to acknowledge and address the pain and seek the required antidote for it, when it comes to mental health this urgency is seldom applied.
We are told to just “move on and get over with it.”
Here are seven ways to offer immediate first aid to our emotional health:
1. Paying attention to our physical and emotional well-being.
Our body easily eases into identifying the sensation of physical pain and alerts us when something is amiss. The same applies when something is off-beam with our mental health.
When we’re stuck with a bad temper, a letdown of any kind, or rejection for longer than we intend to, it is safe to say that we have endured a psychological wound. Just like we would treat physical pain, our mental agonies need to be treated as well. For instance, isolation and loneliness can be overwhelmingly destructive to our emotional and physical well-being.
As the first step, recognizing our emotional pain can be crucial in knowing how to address it—paying attention to what we feel, making a note of when that happens, and taking heart to tackle it before it ends up feeling all-encompassing.
2. Redirecting our gut reactions when we do not succeed.
The dangerous nature of psychological wounds that transform into something else is a real issue that is rarely talked about.
Failure can often lead us to ruminate on what we cannot do over what we can actually do. It can drive our focus away from our from our goals, which will only make us not perform at our absolute best in the end. This will turn into a vicious cycle.
In order to stop this emotional spiralling, we have to train our minds to focus on the factors that we can control and do better if we are to try again. This simple exercise will help us to minimize feelings of daunting hopelessness and will help us feel less demoralized. We can take time to charter our imminent preparation and plan for improving our current stature.
This will not only provide hope but also improve our chances of future success.
3. Reminding ourselves to be compassionate.
When we feel like we have put ourselves down, take a moment and remind ourselves to be compassionate. A sense of self-worth and respect can be considered as a resistance that helps us buffer from emotional distress and reinforce one’s emotional resilience. That makes it imperative to keep a watch over it and dodge negativity that puts our spirits down, especially if we find ourselves already hurting.
One way to heal and recover damaged self-esteem is to exercise an act of self-compassion. Don’t be so harsh on ourselves. Reinforce that we have already done our best and there is no use brooding over what has already transpired. In order to practise self-compassion, we can write our feelings down on a piece of paper and remind ourselves of how far we have come, how we have weathered harsher storms to be who we are today.
4. Disrupting negativity with positive distraction.
It is human nature to rerun and replay everything that went wrong without seeking insight or, worse, trying to solve the problem.
In that case, we’re simply brooding and that is not helping anyone. If this metamorphoses into a habitual practice, we will be in deeper trouble before we know it. The result of that would be deeper psychological pain.
The best way to break from this cycle would be to distract ourselves by engaging in a task that requires undivided concentration. We can play Sudoku, complete a crossword, or even try mental exercises such as trying to jog our memory back to our middle school days,
Expert studies show that even two minutes of distraction will minimize the urge to focus on negative thoughts.
5. Learning to find meaning in loss.
Loss of some kind is inevitable in our life but often, it can scar us and prevent us from moving forward in life. Therefore, it is really pertinent to treat the emotional wounds and give them time to salvage themselves.
Even after a significant time passes and nothing changes, it is time to see our pain in a newfound light. Introduce a new way to look at the pain to ease it into healing. Purposely, find meaning, gain new insight on what we have learnt from it, and eventually, derive a purpose from it all.
Evaluating the hard lessons we have learnt from our loss will help us gain an appreciation for life and be aligned more with our values.
6. Making a conscious decision to not let the guilt linger could be life-changing.
Yes, there is no denying that guilt in small doses can be actually good—it prompts us to act better and mend our ways to become a better person. But excessive guilt can be damaging. It will drain our emotional and intellectual energies and distract us from actually enjoying our life.
A good way to resolve persistent guilt is through a heartfelt apology to whomever it might concern and most importantly, to ourselves. When we are apologizing to a person, make sure we are being empathetic and our apology focuses on the other person more than why we did it. A heartfelt pardon and forgiveness might be what we need to move past our guilt.
So don’t hesitate to keep aside our ego and actually beg pardon for something we have done wrong.
7. Learning what works best for us.
There are no right or wrong coping mechanisms. Different people resort to different means to get over emotional wounds.
We need to pay attention to ourselves and the means we resort to in order to deal with pain—are we someone who shrugs off the pain, do we get over the pain real quick, or do we take considerable time to recover?
Understanding this will help us determine the emotional aid we need to take to heal our pain. The same applies to amp up our emotional resilience. Try out various techniques and figure out what works best for us. It might be trial and error, but once we have figured out what works best for us, we would not we do not need to look back.
The bottom line is we must understand how important it is to practise good mental health. The pertinence of our psychological health cannot be ignored or put aside. If we are someone who does that, it is time for us to address the issues and practice emotional sanitation. It might not be the easiest thing to do, but with continued efforts and time, we are sure to get the hang of it. And have no doubts, it will seriously elevate the quality of your life.